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There’s a surge in the number of new small businesses in Ghana, probably because of the pandemic, or a loss of confidence in traditional employment and jobs.
But the proliferation of new businesses, especially on Instagram, does not mean that starting a business in Ghana is easy.
And yet, despite the challenges, the overwhelming majority of business owners will gladly repeat the process.
So what are the essentials you must address before setting your feet onto the waters? This post is written on Yellow Pages Ghana, a directory of businesses in Ghana, to help you to understand and appreciate the Ghanaian business context before you start your company.
So let’s dove right in;
1 Not tracking their assets and liabilities
Your financial situation will greatly impact your ability to run your business. So even before you take off putting money into any venture, you must assess your financial preparedness.
As a foundation, you must understand what assets and liabilities are. Assets are items that bring some economic benefit to your business, and liabilities are your obligations like bills yet to be paid, services for which you’ve taken payment but haven’t rendered yet, or money you owe.
Examples of assets include your inventory or products you currently have in stock, buildings belonging to your business, your business equipment, and all available cash.
A list of all your assets and liabilities will correctly inform you of your true readiness for any business venture.
2 Lacking a clear-cut mission
There must be a reason why only a few people start businesses, and there’s surely a reason why even fewer people are able to run their businesses into successful companies year after year.
A factor that will keep you going when things get tough is the reason why you entered this particular business space in the first place. So what is your motivation, what moved you? This is what will keep moving you on.
A motivation for business that is captured into a simple statement explaining what a business is seeking to accomplish for its customers is what business people call a mission statement.
A good mission statement also expresses what the business does for its owners and employees. In other words, your mission is why you do what you do.
Mind you, you have other options besides entrepreneurship, then also there are countless other businesses you could consider, so why have you settled on this particular one?
So the second question you ask yourself before you kick start your business is why you even care.
3 Lack of relevant products or services
All products are not created equal; some are in demand, some will be in demand soon, and some will always be in demand. Your ability to identify the right products or services to deliver is crucial to your business’s success.
Of course, you can always adjust and switch things in future if need be, but this will affect your brand consistency. Anyone who has any experience with your business should immediately know what you are into.
So carefully identify the kind of product you want to offer or the service you intend to deliver before you proceed any further in your business development.
4 Misinterpreting the nature of the market
Ghanaian consumer behaviour trends have taken a course that has, unfortunately, put many local businesses on a profit tangent. What you would casually consider being working, may, in fact, be dying.
And our cities also have different characteristics. For instance, it may be less difficult to capture the city of Kumasi than it is to take over Accra, not necessarily because of the population difference, but the people of Kumasi are simply friendlier to novelty.
On a recent visit to the city, I took note of several new kids on the block of eCommerce marketplaces and taxi-hailing services, which are unheard of in other cities even up to this day.
So find out what is prevailing in the market, what is the nature of the consumer, what is the spending culture?
Another example of consumer behaviour is seen in how the different tribes approach investment. Whilst someone from Kwahu would rather invest in commerce, real estate and property development, business in the hospitality and entertainment industry will be the ones to thrive along the coastal belt.
Also take note that our cities are now very cosmopolitan and multicultural compared to a few years ago, and yet some specific cultural practices still permeate the very fabric of our societies. Many cities, like Cape Coast, have very few industries, and many of our rural municipalities have very high populations of elderly people.
Good market research will help you to understand the peculiar nature of your target market, and to offer relevant services or products with high demand.
How you interpret these market indicators is also very important. For instance, Cape Coast has few industries, so what does that mean for your business? That you have a chance to easily become a major player, or that you’ll soon be overwhelmed with orders since you’ll likely be the only player if you’re a manufacturing business.
Clearly, market research is an invaluable step to success in doing business in Ghana.
5 Not prepared to run a small business
You’ll get the idea by now that not everyone is cut out for the drudgery of entrepreneurship. Our very personalities make some people better suited for other forms of engagement than running a business.
Some people are also not ready now, but they could be on at another time. .. It will be wiser to work for a successful business and use your time there as an apprenticeship before starting off on your own.
It’s true, there are many testimonies of successful businessmen who claim that they didn’t know what they were doing when they start out, and it is also true that several thousands of such startups collapse or fail after a few years.
So don’t just be lured by all the “work-for-yourself” slogans. Make sure you get adequately prepared for it because for most of your initial days, all the accounting, taxation, sales and marketing,
6 Not having a plan
Lastly, what is your business plan, and why do you even need one? In short, a business plan is a written document describing the nature of a business’s operations, sales and marketing strategies, financing background, goals, and the time frame within which these goals need to be achieved.
A well-written plan will help you to establish your business focus for the future. It can help you to secure funding as any investor would want to know what your plans are and how you intend to accomplish them.
Another benefit is that it helps you to attract the right kind of team to your business.
There are so many misconceptions about entrepreneurship and starting a business all over the internet, and unfortunately, many people are falling for some of them.
It is erroneous to think that you can just start your business and do what you want. No, you won’t, unless you don’t want to excel. These are just a few preparatory tools to help you to organize yourself before you launch out, and we hope you succeed.
See you at the top!